Title: Some Quiet Place
Author: Kelsey Sutton
Genre: YA Fantasy
Summary (from Goodreads)
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.
Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?
There’s something eerie and disquieting about this novel. The way that the reader is kept in the dark about so many thing, discovering them as Elizabeth does, so that you’re never really sure what’s happening creates a disorienting atmosphere. Sutton doesn’t hold the hand of her reader – there are moments when you feel every bit as confused and uncertain as Elizabeth, but rather than making the novel inaccessible, it just adds to the compelling nature of the story.
Elizabeth isn’t the most likeable character. With her total lack of feeling, she’s wooden and harsh and difficult to relate to. She swings back and forth between acting nice, and being her true self – who isn’t very pleasant – in a way that makes you feel more empathy for all the other characters she encounters. However, with the central mystery so tied up with what she can and can’t remember, there’s no better place to be but inside her head, even though it’s a bit disconcerting at times.
The plot is a bit slow to get going, with the main antagonist only really showing up in the later second half of the book, and a lot of slow paced ‘I went to school’ story in the first half. But, because there’s so much else that’s compelling – from the mystery to the concept of Emotions being physical beings to Fear’s character – the slower plod of the first half never feels boring, though at times you do wonder where on earth it’s all going. The yoyo-ing back and forth between the two boys felt a little bit forced and repetitive at times as well, though the payoff for the unlucky party in the love triangle was a touching and brilliant moment.
So, not the most polished structure, nor the most relatable character, but everything else that’s going on makes this a haunting and interesting read, where what shines really does outshine any tarnish. Even when there wasn’t a lot happening, I had to know what happened next.